Psalm 90:10, 12 NLT
Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty.
But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble;
soon they disappear, and we fly away.
Teach us to realize the brevity of life,
so that we may grow in wisdom.
It’s my seventieth birthday. I don’t know how that happened. It sounds ancient. J. I. Packer uses the term elderlies, “elderlies are classified as younger olds (65–75), medium olds (75–85), and oldest olds (85 plus).” I’m glad to know that I might still be considered one of the “younger” old people. Some say 70 is the new 50 but really – that might be a stretch.
I feel young at heart, young in my mind; the body may be a different story. I’m trying to be patient with this body that has served me well and now needs a little more pampering than it did before to behave the way I want it to. I’m grateful that, for the most part, I have good health.
That is why we never give up.2 Corinthians 4:16-17 NLT
Though our bodies are dying,
our spirits are being renewed every day.
For our present troubles are small and
won’t last very long.
Yet they produce for us a glory that
vastly outweighs them and will last forever!
Parker Palmer writes, “We need to reframe aging as a passage of discovery and engagement, not decline and inaction.” I’ve been thinking about “what now” … what possibilities does my future hold?
It’s interesting how we have multiple identities, and in each season of life, those identities shift in significance.
- I am still a wife and that role grows sweeter in old age. The conflicts are fewer, simpler. The rhythm of life in sync, harmony, less tug of war. There is a certain freedom and joy in being fully known.
- I am still a mother, now a “bit” role, where as a grandmother I’m a “leading lady.”
- My vocational identity is sidelined. In retirement, I get to play a supporting role, encouraging educators where I can.
- My role as friend is increasing in significance as now I have time/energy for adventure.
Now that I am old and gray,Psalm 71:18 NLT
do not abandon me, O God.
Let me proclaim your power to this new generation,
your mighty miracles to all who come after me.
The last decade
The last decade had its challenges, and it was great fun!
- 2012 We sold our house in Franklin, TN, and moved to Texas. It was a no-brainer to move closer to our sons and the grandsons. At the same time, it was a challenge to leave the school where I was principal. I couldn’t help but wonder if I would be able to get a job in Texas. What I learned about God that year is that He is faithful to provide — a buyer for our home in Franklin, a just-right house for us in Texas, jobs for Ron and me, a new church family, and the joy of seeing our sons and their families often!
- 2013 was the year of reestablishing myself as a teacher after having been out of the classroom for twelve years. That year was a struggle – math education had changed! I learned that “an old dog CAN learn new tricks!” It was also the year of establishing our Texas home and creating extended family routines. God was gracious to us.
- 2014, 2015 were years of routine, early rising, working late, celebrating weekends. Life was challenging and rewarding. We experienced the goodness of God!
- 2016 I knew it was time to retire and we decided to retire together, at the same time. Being frugal wasn’t new to us and we were up to the challenge. We also learned that twins were on their way – double the fun, double the joy! We were so grateful for safe delivery, and healthy baby boys!
- 2017, 2018, 2019 were years learning how to live the retired life. People ask was it difficult. For me it was. It was difficult not to work. In those years, I filled my newly blank calendar with activities that resembled work – tutoring, volunteering in the local elementary school, loving on those four precious grandsons, and such. We also traveled much more – to see family, friends and new sights in the states.
- 2020, 2021, of course, have been Covid years, forever marked by the pandemic. We’ve experienced the mercy of God, good health, faith to trust His sovereignty. We did less, stayed home more, learned how to use Zoom. I experienced some depression, struggled a bit, and practiced praying more!
2022 is my seventieth year … looking forward to this new year, a new decade, and the adventures that await.
Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
there is no shadow of turning with thee.
Thou changest not, thy compassions, they fail not;
as thou hast been, thou forever wilt be.
Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
join with all nature in manifold witness
to thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
Great is thy faithfulness!Thomas Chisholm 1923
Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
all I have needed thy hand hath provided.
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!